San Diego Benefit

April 29, 2018

at The Crossings at Carlsbad

Click here to purchase your tickets today!

Chicago Benefit

May 6, 2018

at Chicago Botanic Garden

Click here to purchase your tickets today!
Important Dates to Remember:

2018 Summer Program Dates
July 11, 2018 - July 30, 2018

Join us in Chicago or San Diego  
Farewell Celebration 
July 29, 2018

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March, 2018

Executive Director Update
A little more than a month ago, I was glued to the television watching the aftermath of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.  As a parent of a high school student, it was emotional for me realizing this could happen at any school, anywhere in the United States.  In the days and weeks after, I spent a lot of time observing the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas take to the streets and travel to Tallahassee and fly to Washington to stand up for a cause.  I was watching as a father, but also through the lens of the Hands of Peace Executive Director and our work with young people. 

Each summer, some of the Hands of Peace participants ask "but what can a 16-year-old actually do?"  Looking at the Parkland students, we see the answer.  These young people are raising their voices as leaders of change.  They are standing up and speaking out on an issue they feel is important to them.  

Within the past week, high school students across the United States walked out of class to raise their voices - in many cases facing severe repercussions from their schools.  Many other students organized and chose to NOT walk out, raising their voices as advocates of gun rights by staging "walk-ins".  Regardless of our personal beliefs,  we should be proud of students on all sides of the debate who educated themselves about the issues, followed their hearts, and respectfully raised their voices to take a stand. Many recent American Hands of Peace alumni participated in the events last week.  We admire their courage - whether they walked out or walked in. 

So what can a 16-year-old actually do?  They can make their voices heard on issues that are important to them.  They can become true leaders of change by standing up for what they believe, by learning to listen and by learning how to persevere.  When it is easy.  But especially when it is hard.  

This is what we stand for.

 Hands of Peace News and Updates
Join us in Chicago or San Diego  for Annual Benefit
Invitations have been mailed, committees are hard at work, and Hands of Peace staff and alumni are excited to see you at one of these two events benefitting the upcoming summer programs. 

San Die go on April  29, 2018 
G et your groove  on for a far out evening of fun and meaning benefitting Hands of Peace.  Click here to purchase your tickets today!

Chicago on May 6, 2018 
Enjoy a magical evening celebrating 15 years developing peacebuilding and leadership skills in Israeli, Palestinian and American youth. 

Summer Program Help
Do you want to personally get involved  with our summer program? Young people in dialogue, team-building and leadership activities work up quite an appetite! Because neither of our sites allows for a built-in lunch program, all lunches are catered by teams of amazing volunteers. You can take part by supplying a meal and bringing it to the program site where you can enjoy it with the participants. Lunch is always high energy and fun and provides the perfect opportunity for you to get to know participants and staff while keeping down costs for the program! Meals can be purchased or home cooked with attention to some special dietary needs. Lunch on a typical day feeds 60 people. To learn more, please contact Rhonda McCarty in Chicago or Sarah Heirendt in San Diego.

Your Dual-Narrative Tour of Israel/Palestine
October 21 - November 1, 2018
If you have always wanted to visit the Middle East and are looking for a deeper, more meaningful approach than an average tour, you can experience a life-changing dual-narrative tour with Hands of Peace Founder Gretchen Grad.   Professional Israeli and Palestinian guides offer multi-perspective historical, cultural and spiritual experiences.  The trip includes visits with Hands of Peace staff and alumni in the region for authentic personal connections and a more nuanced understanding of the issues. Trip size is capped at 30 participants, so make your plans soon.

For more details, click hereQuestions? Contact Gretchen Grad.

Volunteer Spotlight
The Rotary Peacemaker Award is designed to honor members of the community who have made a significant difference in promoting tolerance, understanding, conflict resolution and peace making through their contributions and efforts for Peace Building. This is the third year that Encinitas Coastal Rotary Club has presented a Peace Award.  Kelly Mellos, recent Hands of Peace Board Member and one of the main architects of the San Diego Program, was honored by Rotary to receive this award, and we are thrilled to have someone so dedicated and passionate about our mission on our San Diego Leadership Council.

In Kelly's own words, " My peace work stems from a core belief that all human beings deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. I have been a peacemaker since I was young, even before I could articulate it. I have been committed to the work of Hands of Peace for the last five years.  I, along with many volunteers, some fellow Rotarians in this club, helped to launch this program in San Diego and have fostered the beautiful partnership between Hands of Peace and Rotary.  I believe this program not only empowers youth in both the Middle East and the U.S. but also stands for something greater.  It stands as an example for all those who are working mindfully and creatively toward peaceful solutions rather than accepting the status quo of violence that we see not only world-wide but sadly within our own country."

Thank you to Kelly for your passion and dedication! Congratulations!
Chicago Updates and 
Upcoming Events
HOPEducation Community Event
Welcoming the Stranger: What do the Sacred Texts Teach? What are we doing about it?
Thursday, March 22, 2018, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Winnetka Community House - Garden Room
620 Lincoln Ave, Winnetka, IL 60092

Organized by the Interfaith Understanding
Committee of the New Trier Multifaith Alliance, this event will be moderated by Jerome McDonnell, and includes several speakers from different faiths. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit their website at  Hands of Peace is a community partner for this event.

HOPEducation Night
Political Trends and the Evolving Israeli Narrative: Why Grassroots Movements are Critical to Reshaping the Future
Monday, April 9, 2018, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
2121 Sheridan Rd, Evanston, IL, 60201 - Room 205

Dr. Dani Filc, MD, PhD, is Full Professor at the Department of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University. Among his many publications are the books Hegemony and Populism in Israel, Circles of Exclusion: The Politics of Health-Care in Israel and The Political Right in Israel, along with papers on populism, Israeli society, the right to health care and health policy. Filc, a former chairperson and currently a board member at Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, and one of the founders and current member of the coordinating committee of Standing Together, a grass roots Jewish-Arab movement fighting for peace and social justice, will be joining us for a conversation about "Political Trends and the Evolving Israeli Narrative: Why Grassroots Movements are Critical to Reshaping the Future." For more information , visit our Facebook event page,   or contact  Rhonda McCarty .

San Diego Updates and 
Upcoming Events
HOPEducation Community Partnership
ADL Walk Against Hate
April 15, 2018,  8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Ingram Plaza at Liberty Station, San Diego, CA

Join Hands of Peace as we partner with the Anti-Defamation League for their Walk Against Hate. The Walk Against Hate brings together students, educators, administrators, business leaders, and community members to walk with one another in celebration of diversity and inclusion. Proceeds from the walk will go to bringing ADL's award-winning anti-bias education programs to more schools across San Diego. To join the Hands of Peace team, sign up here. For questions about the walk contact Sarah Heirendt

HOPEducation Event
Nonviolent Communication Two-Part Workshop
Sundays April 15 & May 6, 2018, 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Christ Presbyterian Church

HOPEducation Movie Night with CSUSM
"Hotel Everest"
Wednesday, May 2, 2018, 5:30-8:15 p.m.
CSUSM Campus - ARTS240
333 N. Twin Oaks Valley Rd, San Marcos, CA 92069

I n Israel and Palestine, the road to peace is
a steep climb. The Hotel Everest sits at one of the very few locations between Israel and Palestine where members of both communities are able to interact with one another. A meeting is arranged: to understand the humanity in "the other" and forge connections that promote empathy, understanding and, in their wildest hopes, peace. Discussion with Dr. Tamar Arieli and the filmmaker, Claudia Sobral will follow the film. Presented with the support of the Murray Galinson San Diego-Israel Initiative, this screening is part of the CSUSM Media Makers series and is free and open to the public.  For more information visit our Facebook event page ,  or contact   Sarah Heirendt .

HOPEducation Movie Night
''When Voices Meet'' Screening & Choir Presentation with Sharon Katz 
Sunday, May 20, 2018, 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Christ Presbyterian Church 
7807 Centella St, Carlsbad, CA 92009

P lease join Hands of Peace in partnership with Sister Faiths of North County as we screen " When Voices Meet"  and enjoy a musical performance and Q&A with Producer/Director Sharon Katz.  This film   is an award-winning documentary that is set during apartheid in South Africa, which resulted in political violence and tore the country apart.  When Voices Meet,  a 500-voice multicultural choir and band, held a concert at Durban City Hall in 1993, and their music touched the hearts of a country divided by civil war. With the joining force of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, those courageous performers took their message to the rest of the country to break down the barriers apartheid had created. Despite the threat of violence, they knew there was no turning back.  When Voices Meet  promoted a peaceful transition to democracy and became Nelson Mandela's face of a new nation. The film highlights the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of the musicians and choir members, who preformed together for seven years. It is an inspiring story filled with determination and hope. This event is free and open to the public. For more information visit our Facebook event page ,  or contact    Sarah Heirendt .

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